Sebastian Montoya is set to get his first laps in a prototype, having been confirmed by DragonSpeed to take part in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Bahrain Rookie Test.
The 16-year-old son of Juan Pablo Montoya, who currently competes in the Italian F4 championship, will drive the American team’s Oreca 07 Gibson in the end-of-year test following the WEC finale at the Sakhir circuit in November.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and former IMSA champion Montoya is part of DragonSpeed’s WEC driving crew this year although according to team principal Elton Julian, the opportunity is not directly tied to his father’s current position within the team.
“It’s easy to jump and say, ‘Well dad’s here.’ But it was more than that,” Julian told Sportscar365.
“First impressions are important and from the moment he stepped foot in the scene with us as his father’s son… He’s his own man and is really well put together and really mature and has put his focus on what he wants to do. It’s refreshing.
“On track he’s also backed that up with really good performances and fighting in one of the toughest championships coming up, with is Italian F4.
“I think the level is there. And being a rookie test, it’s the first step.”
Julian says he sees talent in the second-generation driver and is looking forward to seeing what he can do behind the wheel of a LMP2 car.
Montoya currently sits third in the Italian F4 championship driving for Prema Powerteam.
“Obviously he’s going to be well-groomed. That comes without saying,” Julian said.
“I’m a dad and I wasn’t sure what I was going to find. But from the very beginning, we just like him.
“The crew likes him, he knows what he’s doing. You can tell where he grew up and how he grew up. Their approach to going racing is as pure as I’ve seen. The family is all in. It’s really cool.”
Julian said they don’t currently plan to test anybody else in the car over the course of the test, which will give the up-and-coming driver maximum track time.
“I want him to have the time to get it right,” he said. “I think it’s a big opportunity and it’s a big car. But I don’t think that matters anymore. Kids can jump in anything these days.”
DragonSpeed is the first team to officially commit to a driver for the Nov. 7 test although seven-time FIA World Rally Champion Sebastian Ogier appears likely to test Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid.